Skills I'm constantly using as I write up my thesis

Jake Amey
Jake Amey

I'm in the final year of my PhD in particle physics at the University of Bristol, and started working with Outsmart in October 2022. I was on placement at a software development company in London, so my motivation was purely financial: living in London on a PhD budget without the London weighting is tough and I was in dire need of some cash! This is no longer the case but I still find myself working with Outsmart simply because I enjoy the projects and genuinely find them interesting and useful for my professional development.

I initially signed up for just one project, which was scouting for future Cyber-Physical software, a subject I was already interested in. This involved finding UK-based companies, startups and university labs that had exciting new developments with the potential for huge future impact. I was tasked with researching the companies and then writing up a short form on each detailing why they were a good fit. Naturally, researching and writing up was fun and rewarding, and even provided a few avenues for potential future employment!

I quickly took on my next project, described as emerging trend analysis. This was absolutely my favourite project I've done with Outsmart so far, and involved analysing innovations at different stages of technological readiness, from lab research to almost commercialisation. Most of the information had already been written up into an easily-digestible form, and I was tasked with linking them into a rough technological roadmap with the aim of forecasting the status of technologies in 10-20 years time. My enjoyment of this project was probably boosted by me being an avid fan of Sci-Fi.

Since then I've completed five further projects, all of which I found rewarding and enjoyable. Another one of my favourites is contributing to Tech Watch, in which I was fortunate enough to be involved across multiple stages. The first stage involved finding and researching emerging technologies that were within a few years of commercialisation, then submitting a short form that briefly explained the technology and why it was important. I was then tasked with converting these short descriptions into 300 word articles. This really helped with my writing skills as the stringent word count required me to write clearly and concisely, a skill I'm constantly using as I write up my thesis. An added bonus was being able to view the completed magazine afterwards, and spot the articles I wrote. 

If I were to give any advice to a new Associate joining the team, it would be to engage with the training, and to request invitations for every project you are interested in. I found that once I’d gotten one project under my belt, I started getting invites for interesting projects quite frequently, especially once I’d contributed significantly to one of them! I've also started being offered team lead roles in certain projects, which comes with more responsibility as well as more compensation! Either way, I'm looking forward to what the future with Outsmart holds for me, as well as all the extra holidays I'll be able to afford!